So Steve and I make trips to the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore a pretty regular event. In case you aren’t aware, anything related to home building, repairing or remodeling can be found here, donated to a good cause by both commercial contractors and the average homeowner. You can find some great thrift store upcycle materials for DIY projects at a ReStore, for a good price. We troll the store for ideas, or sometimes looking for a specific item.

Our latest trip was an idea hunting trip…we spied these old bathroom vanity light fixtures, and as Steve pondered out loud “what can we do with these?…” we both noticed how easily a votive candle would drop down right into that opening. The light bulb base that already existed was even sunken just the right amount, so the votive would be more or less flush with the top. Our thrift store upcycle light fixture became our elegant outdoor candle holder! Ok, we did have to do a couple things to it first. (BTW, the whole time we were brain storming this incredibly simple project, I kept thinking I had seen something just like it in the CB2 catalog, or somewhere similar… anyone know of one?) So, here’s how we did it… start with one ugly chrome thrift store vanity light fixture…



Outdoor Candle Holder


Thrift Store Upcycle – Light Fixture to Candle Holder


Thrift Store Upcycle – Before




Step 1

Sand off any rough spots. We thought about roughing up the other areas with some steel wool, but were worried it would leave a cloudy, scratched surface. Might’ve been overthinking that one. We also un-screwed the bottom, (screws are on the top) removed the remaining electrical components, then re-screwed on the bottom piece.



Step 2

We used a Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint in a flat nickel finish. This paint has primer built in, thus making the steel wool issue a moot point. Paint in thin coats. Let dry, and re-coat until covered. You don’t want drip marks on this project!




Step 3

Drop in tea lights. These are the kind of votives with the metal or plastic liner so they don’t drip through. Done. We have gotten so many compliments on this project, and it’s like these light fixtures were made for it! We think if we make another, we might try to set it onto a nice wood base. We use this outdoors, but it could be used inside as well.

Thrift Store Upcycle – After




What do ya think? Want to save this thrift store upcycle project for later? Don’t forget to Pin and share! Also check out our post on DIY Candle Making Tutorials!

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  1. Cynthia Rose October 6, 2014 at 5:33 am

    This is just the sort of idea I have been looking for. Taking an older light fixture and turning it into a glorified candle holder is so chic and classy. I would love to find an older chandelier and try this sort of thing.
    Cynthia |


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